The Genie of Darkness (1962)

THE GENIE OF DARKNESS (1962)
(a.k.a. NOSTRADAMUS, EL GENIO DE LAS TINIEBLAS)
Article #1335 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-9-2004
Posting Date: 4-8-2005
Directed by Federico Curiel, Alberto Mariscal, et al.
Featuring German Robles, Domingo Soler, Julio Alemain

The professor once again pits his wits against the cunning will of the vampire Nostradamus.

Hey, I’ve figured out the gimmick behind naming this vampire after the famed prophet; he keeps predicting the deaths of his victims! All right, I’ll admit that I feel pretty slow in taking so long to come to that revelation, but at least I’m not scratching my head about it anymore.

This is the third of the four Nostradamus the Vampire movies. Each movie was edited out of several episodes of a serial, and as usual, it is best to keep that in mind when watching these movies, because if you take the movie as a single entity, it doesn’t work; it seems bizarrely plotted, incomplete and confusing. It’s only if you take it as part of series that it starts making sense, with some plot threads that run through several episodes. At the same time, each episode makes a certain amount of sense on its own terms, with a story arc that gives it its own sense of unity.

As usual, it’s a bit of a struggle, but I think it’s worth the effort; as a whole, the Nostradamus series has some fun ideas. The dubbing is quite awful, with highly inappropriate voices; Leo the hunchback sounds entirely too much like Goofy, and his mother the witch (whose death scene is the highlight of this movie) has a thick New York accent. Of course, the chances of anyone bothering to put out a decent subtitled copy of the whole serial are highly slim, so you may have to make the best of it.

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